Archive for August 1st, 2010

August 1, 2010

Hypnic Jerk

hypnic jerk

A hypnic jerk, sleep start, or kick is an involuntary muscle twitch which occurs during hypnagogia, just as a person is beginning to fall asleep. Physically, hypnic jerks resemble the jump made when a person is startled, often accompanied by a falling sensation. It is commonly caused by irregular sleep schedules.

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August 1, 2010

Kombucha

kombucha

Kombucha [kawm-boo-chah] is a fermented tea that is often drunk for medicinal purposes. There is limited scientific information supporting any health benefit and few studies are being conducted. Kombucha is available commercially and can be made at home by fermenting tea using a visible, solid mass of yeast and bacteria which forms the kombucha culture which is often referred to as the ‘mushroom’ or the ‘mother.’

The recorded history of kombucha began in Russia during the late 19th century. In Chinese, kombucha is called hongchajun (red tea fungus). In Japanese, the drink is known as kōcha kinoko (black tea mushroom). Some promotional kombucha sources propagate the legend that this tea-based beverage originated in ancient China or Japan centuries prior to knowledge of leaf-based teas. There is little historical evidence to support this claim.

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August 1, 2010

Cambrian Explosion

The Cambrian [kam-bree-uhnexplosion or Cambrian radiation was the relatively rapid appearance, over a period of many million years, of most major groups of complex animals around 530 million years ago, as found in the fossil record. Before about 580 million years ago, most organisms were simple, composed of individual cells occasionally organized into colonies. Over the following 70 or 80 million years the rate of evolution accelerated by an order of magnitude (as defined in terms of the extinction and origination rate of species) and the diversity of life began to resemble today’s.

The long-running puzzlement about the appearance of the Cambrian fauna, seemingly abruptly and from nowhere, centers on three key points: whether there really was a mass diversification of complex organisms over a relatively short period of time during the early Cambrian; what might have caused such rapid change; and what it would imply about the origin and evolution of animals. Interpretation is difficult due to a limited supply of evidence, based mainly on an incomplete fossil record and chemical signatures left in Cambrian rocks.

August 1, 2010

Nudibranch

David Doubilet

A nudibranch [noo-duh-brangk] is a marine mollusk which sheds its shell after the larval stage. They are noted for their often extraordinary colors and striking forms. More than 3,000 different species have been identified. The word ‘nudibranch’ comes from the Latin ‘nudus’ (‘naked’) and the Greek ‘brankhia’ (‘gills’).

Nudibranchs are often casually called sea slugs, but many sea slugs belong to several taxonomic groups which are not closely related to nudibranchs. A number of these other sea slugs (such as the colorful Aglajidae) are often confused with nudibranchs. Nudibranchs are found worldwide, at virtually all depths of salt water, but reach their greatest size and variation in warm, shallow waters.

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August 1, 2010

Falstaff

Sir John Falstaff is a fictional character who appears in three plays by William Shakespeare as a companion to Prince Hal, the future King Henry V. A fat, vainglorious, and cowardly knight, Falstaff leads the apparently wayward Prince Hal into trouble, and is ultimately repudiated after Hal becomes king. To describe someone as falstaffian is to say they are characterized by joviality and conviviality.

August 1, 2010

Macondo Prospect

oil spill

The Macondo Prospect (Mississippi Canyon Block 252, abbreviated MC252) is an oil and gas prospect in the United States Exclusive Economic Zone of the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Louisiana. The prospect was the site of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion in April 2010 that led to a major oil spill in the region.

The name Macondo is the same name as the fictitious cursed town in the novel ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ by Colombian nobel-prize winning writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Oil companies routinely assign code names to offshore prospects early in the exploration effort. This practice helps ensure secrecy during the confidential pre-sale phase, and later provides convenient names for casual reference rather than the often similar-sounding official lease names. Names in a given year or area might follow a theme such as beverages (e.g., Cognac), heavenly bodies (e.g., Mars), or even cartoon characters (e.g., Bullwinkle), but usually have no geological or geographical significance to the prospect itself.

August 1, 2010

GAU-8 Avenger

avenger

avenger

The General Electric GAU-8/A Avenger is a 30 mm, hydraulically-driven seven-barrel Gatling-type rotary cannon that is mounted on the United States Air Force’s A-10 Thunderbolt II. It is among the largest, heaviest and most powerful aircraft cannons in the United States military. Designed specifically for the anti-tank role, the Avenger delivers very powerful rounds at a high rate of fire, 3900 rounds per minute.

It was designed for the A-10 ‘Warthog’  ground attack aircraft. The entire GAU-8 assembly represents about 16% of the A-10 aircraft’s unladen weight. The recoil force of the gun is 10,000 pounds-force, which is slightly more than the output of one of the A-10’s two engines. While this recoil force is significant, in practice cannon fire only slows the aircraft a few miles per hour.

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August 1, 2010

Balisong

A Balisong, otherwise known as a butterfly knife or fan knife, is a folding pocket knife with two handles counter-rotating around the tang such that, when closed, the blade is concealed within grooves in the handles. It is sometimes called a Batangas knife. In the hands of a trained user, the knife blade can be brought to bear quickly using one hand. Manipulations, called ‘flipping’ or ‘fanning,’ are performed for art or amusement. The Balisong is commonly used by Filipino people as a pocket utility knife.

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August 1, 2010

Pedobear

pedobear

Pedobear is an Internet meme that became popular through the imageboard ‘4chan.’ As the name suggests, it is portrayed as a pedophilic bear. It is a concept used to mock pedophiles or people who have an interest in minors or ‘jailbait.’ The bear image has been likened to bait used to lure children or as a mascot for pedophiles.

The bear character originates from the popular bulletin board system (BBS) ‘2channel’ in Japan, where it was introduced as ‘Kuma’ (‘bear’ in Japanese). Unlike Pedobear, Kuma has no sexual connotations, pedophilic or otherwise. Pedobear eventually became known outside 4chan as it was referenced by newspapers and prominent websites. It has been frequently misunderstood as a mascot of child sex offenders, on the contrary, it mocks such people.

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August 1, 2010

Vampire Fruit

Vampire pumpkins and watermelons are a folk legend from the Balkans. The story is associated with the Roma people of the region, from whom much of traditional vampire folklore originate. The belief in vampire fruit is similar to the belief that any inanimate object left outside during the night of a full moon will become a vampire. According to tradition, watermelons or any kind of pumpkin kept more than ten days or after Christmas will become a vampire, rolling around on the ground and growling to pester the living. People have little fear of the vampire pumpkins and melons because of the creatures’ lack of teeth.

August 1, 2010

Watermelon Steak

Watermelon Steak

Watermelon Steak

Watermelon steak is a grilled piece of watermelon. Some who have tried it compare its texture to that of seared beef or tuna, while others claim it is unique in its taste and texture.

August 1, 2010

Happy Farm

5mins

Happy Farm is a social network game, or massively multiplayer online game, based on farm management simulation. It is played predominantly by users in Mainland China and Taiwan, and is the most popular MMOG in terms of players. At the height of its popularity, there were 23 million daily active users, logging on to the game at least every day. Happy Farm was developed by Chinese social game developer 5 Minutes in 2008. It allows players to grow crops, trade with others, sell produce, and steal from neighbors. The game was influenced by the Japanese RPG series, ‘Harvest Moon.’ The game peaked during the end of the 2000s, and in the following years, experienced a sharp decline in players. As of 2012, it had practically vanished.

‘Happy Farm’ went on to inspire many more farming social network games, including ‘FarmVille,’ as well as parodies such as ‘Jungle Extreme’ and ‘Farm Villain.’ In 2009, ‘Harvest Moon’ developers Marvellous Entertainment eventually released their own farming social network game, ‘Bokujo Monogatari,’ for the Japanese site Mixi.’

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